Day 1: ARUSHA: Arrive in Tanzania, pick up from the airport with transfer to the Arumeru River Lodge/ Impala Hotel.
Day 2: NGORONGORO CRATER: After breakfast, drive from Arusha and then descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for a crater tour. The Crater is an 100 square mile natural caldera where you may see rhinos, elephants, lions, as well as large herds of zebra and wildebeest, etc. A box lunch will be taken in the Crater before returning for your dinner and overnight at the rim of the Crater, lodge/camp.
Day 3: NGORONGORO CRATER TO OLMOTI CRATER: Descend into the Crater for a second day game drive. Then exit the Crater and drive to
Nainokanoka. Take an afternoon trek at Olmoti, which takes you through the rain-forested slopes of Olmoti Crater to the rim viewpoint,
the trek winds down to the grassy plains of the crater floor and to Mungwe Falls, named after the distinctive white flourish of the
Colobus Monkey tail. Dinner and overnight at Camp.
Day 4: OLMOTI CRATER TO EMPAKAI: The trek continues to the distant Empakai Crater. On this day the trek covers open grassland through a natural amphitheatre created by encircling volcanoes. Masai rush out of their traditional homes (Manyattas) to greet trekkers as they pass by. The steep walk up Empakai affords awe-inspiring views, especially from the top where the sheer sided sunken crater can be seen. We camp on the Crater Rim, with Empakai on one side and Ol Donyo Lengai (the holy Masai volcano) on the other.
Day 5: EMPAKAI TO NAYOBI: From the overnight camp, we scramble down the sheer-sided slopes of Empakai onto the crater floor for a foot safari. Empakai Crater is a sunken volcano with a soda lake covering most of the crater floor. Flamingos nest here during the day to escape the blazing heat of the Rift Valley. A large forest on the western shore is home to antelope, buffalo, leopard and lion, with large seasonal zebra and wildebeest populations when they pass through on their migratory circuits.
Day 6: NAYOBI TO NGARESERO: The Masai Mountain of God, Ol Donyo Lengai, stands out of the sunrise as we head out early to avoid the African heat. We arrive at the escarpment (the sheer wall that stands out of the Rift Valley floor) to admire one of the finest views in Africa. Sweeping vistas of the Rift Valley 1500ft below, scattered active volcanoes, primitive rock formations, glimmering soda lakes and clustered Masai bomas are all in front of you to behold. The final 6-7 kilometers are across the tough uncompromising terrain of the valley floor in extreme heat. Our shaded camp is perched above a refreshing stream, a half-hour walk from a paradisiacal waterfall.
Day 7: NGARESERO: Very early morning you have the option of a climb of Ol Donya Lengai (2878m), an active carbonate volcano with spiritual significance to the Masai (please see below). A visit to Lake Natron (short afternoon visit if Ol Donyo Lengai trek is taken), one of the soda alkaline lakes that jewel the East African Rift, where there is an array of water birds including hordes of resident flamingos. There is also the opportunity to walk up a gorge carved into the Rift Escarpment to a waterfall to wash off five days of dust.
Day 8: NGARESERO TO ARUSHA: A long driving day returning back to dinner and overnight in Arusha. OPTIONAL TREK OF OLDONYO LENGAI: An optional climb of Ol Donyo Lengai (2878m), an active carbonate volcano with spiritual significance to the Maasai, is offered. This is a very demanding trek, which starts around 3 am in the morning so as to avoid the fierce midday heat. There is no shade on the mountain, and the terrain underfoot consists of tough screed, lava and volcanic ash, with steep furrows and gullies to negotiate. At the summit, there are two craters (one of which is still active) which can be explored (with due care) and the views across the Rift and towards Lake Natron are breathtaking. This trek is recommended for serious trekkers in good physical condition. A large water intake and a sunhat are strongly advised.Back to Safaris